Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Choosing A Project

Is it only me, or does anyone else start to panic when there is yet another Email about a new E-Publisher starting up and wanting your stories, right here, right now!
     I know I should be very glad that there are so many opportunities to get published these days but the fact is that I can't write quickly enough to take advantage of them all. Then I find I can't concentrate on one project alone because I keep thinking of other plots just ideal for that new publisher.
     I now have several manuscripts in various stages and targeted at different publishers from my writing this year, and all of them are un-finished.
In the end, I went back to my comfort zone and wrote a new Pocket Novel over the summer which I've just finished and am about to submit.
     But now that it is done, I have to decide what to do.
     I hope I'm going to be brave and take that next step and try something a bit different, if only because it should make my writing fresher and better.
Do you have a drawer full of half-finished stories? Are they worth reworking or is it better to start something entirely new? I'd love to know your thoughts.


  1. Your post caught my attention, Carol - because I feel exactly the same! I'm bad enough with half finished stories and jumping between genres and now I've seen a few opportunities that are tempting me. I've decided I want to try and complete all half-written stories if possible before starting another.

  2. Some very good points here, Carol. It is exciting to try something new and different and it might even make the comfort zone writing more vibrant. It's also helpful to have some stories where you don't have to start from scratch.
    We try and make lists and battle on to finish things, but there are still a few which are looking for endings...

  3. I'm glad it's not only me! Rosemary, I have decided to do the same - I'm not starting anything else until I've finished one of my half written stories.
    Mary and Ruth - I am hoping that writing something different does indeed spice up my future pocket novels. I've recently re-read my PN (quite fun reading your own work!) and see some themes and descriptions repeating themselves. How do people manage, having written 20 or 30 full length novels, to create something new and fresh each time?

  4. You're definitely not alone Carol. Things were a lot simpler when there were fewer publishers. I've fallen foul of exactly the same thing you have. There seems so much opportunity and it feels unwise not to try and reach out and have a go at all of them. But, and it's a big but, you then start to spread yourself very thinly and it's far easier to start stuff than to finish it. I always think that at least 90% of success is finishing because you cannot submit until you have something that's complete. That said, I've found it a huge relief when, on occasions desperately thinking of ideas for a new publisher I've stumbled across a half written story and have been able to turn it into something half way decent. Good luck with finishing!

  5. Cara - you are so right - finishing is difficult - I wrote a previous blog entry about 'The Wall' which is hit about the mid-point of a longer story and how difficult it is to get through it. Sometimes I find I have to plough on whether I'm enjoying writing or not to get over the wall and on to the end. At those times, I wonder why I write - it's meant to be an enjoyable activity! But then it's so satisfying and exciting when there's a finished MS to send out into the world with all the anticipation and hope that goes with it.
    I have only ever written short stories for magazines and pocket novels so it remains to be seen whether I can sell elsewhere. But I need now to take a deep breath and have a go!

  6. Only one drawer full of unfinished stories? I have several draw fulls! (well hard drive fulls anyway!)

    I know exactly what you mean though, Carol. I see so many calls for submissions and think 'I'd love to write something for that' but can barely finish what I'm working on at the moment. It's all a bit overwhelming sometimes. I find it's best to go back to what I know I can do, and at least then I have a chance of finishing something.

  7. Sally - I think I'm probably a writing amateur compared to most of the Pocketeers so that's why there's only one drawerful just now! But it's good to know it's normal for an author to have lots of unfinished pieces stored away.
    If only there was an eight or nine day week to get more writing done...

  8. I can definitely relate to this too. I have lots of unfinished stories, and have done a big clearout this summer, seeing which ones are absolute no-hopers and which are worth keeping for possible future use. Any time I see something about a new publisher or ezine, or receive updated guidelines for magazines, I feel I ought to try and send something off. But you just can't do everything, and if you're not careful you end up doing nothing! So I am now trying really hard just to focus on the novel, and I close my eyes to those other opportunities I see. It's about priorities really. Ask yourself which is the thing you most want to write, which would be most satisfying, which you would enjoy the best.

  9. Joanne - you are so right - I did end up doing nothing for quite a large part of this year due to panicking and rushing around writing bits of things. Good luck with your novel!

  10. Carol, we feel your pain :) and as fellow writers we've all been there and felt confused many times. Bottom line is just to keep writing, try and keep up a daily or weekly output, finish the project and send it out. I totally agree about the sense of accomplishment that comes with typing The End and already by then I will have the next novel project well underway in planning.
    Like Joanne, I had a big clear out earlier this year of many old story ideas that just wouldn't cut it today or sounded blah and now am down to about a dozen files on my desk awaiting writing with story characters developed, many ideas for scenes etc. Just need to sit down and write them all. :)